Some Thoughts on Election Eve

By: Roger Sheppard
By: Roger Sheppard

Looking ahead to 2012...sort of!

Well, it's almost over. It will soon be safe to watch your TV, go to your mailbox, and answer your phone again, without fear of hearing a robo-call or seeing an attack ad.

History has a nasty way of putting things into perspective and reminding people of uncomfortable truths.

Here are a few observations about the next four years, regardless of who wins the White House.

Either party will be able to blame the Bush Administration for the state of the economy when the new Administration took over. And chances are, things will be better, economically speaking, in 2012 because it's difficult to imagine they could get any worse...even though they could.

In 2012, you can bet that you will see ads that say something like this:

"Remember 2008, before (Insert winner's name here) was elected? The economy was in a shambles. Home foreclosures were at an all-time high. Wall Street was seeing its darkest days since the Great Depression. Then (winner's name) was elected and things are so much better now. Re-elect (name of 2008 winner) again."

But will the winner of Tuesday's election truly be responsible for what happens with the economy? Most people in the know will tell you that the ebb and flow of the American economy is independent from Presidential politics. The economy can rise or fall regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the Oval Office. And sometimes, the cause for the economy's rise or fall takes years to emerge. There is some evidence that the seeds for the mortgage collapse that is at the heart of the current economic downturn, were sown in 1999 when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were pressured to make more mortgages available to more and more people who could little afford them.

If the Democratic Party wins the White House, a majority in the House, and a "filibuster-proof" Senate, they may learn the same difficult lesson thet Newt Gingrich and the GOP learned in the midst of the Reagan Revolution. Sometimes, it can be just as difficult to get things done when you have a majority, as it is when you don't. And there's the old maxim: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." And control of the White House and both houses of Congress is as close to absolute power as anyone ever gets in this country.

The other thing that has really bothered me about this year's campaigning, and not just at the Presidential level, is the lack of detail in plans and over-promising results. This is nothing new, but I've finally gotten fed up with it. When a candidate says "I will do such-and-such," I have to laugh. No Governor, no President, no individual law-makers can do ANYTHING without getting a majority in the legislative branch to go along with that plan.

We, the voters, are at fault to an extent. Research has shown that people respond to negative ads and that we won't take the time to analyze proposals in depth and ask the tough questions of candidates or their surrogates. So we deserve what we get.

Oh well. If you have not already voted I urge you to do so on Tuesday. And, please, if you don't vote, don't gripe.

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